Friday, October 22 it was all about the three R’s – reintroduction, renewal, and reunion. One hundred enthusiastic participants traveled to Farmville for the 2010 Moton Museum Southside Reunion. Special events included interviews, activities, and a banquet featuring the inspirational guest speaker Al-Tony Gilmore from the National Education Association. Friendship, fellowship, and fun were also essential parts of the experience.
Events kicked off with a reception that featured participants in a program called Save Our History. As explained by Mrs. Tommie McCune, who teaches at Altavista Elementary School in Campbell County, the project inspired students to interview individuals who had been affected by the public schools closings of Prince Edward County, Virginia. Students then assembled an impressive memory book that includes reports, research papers, and a story authored by the students that is based on their interviews.
The banquet that followed honored Prince Edward County students educated in the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Brunswick, Buckingham, Charlotte, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottaway, and the city of Petersburg during the period of public school closings (1959-1964) in their home county of Prince Edward. Each special guest received a commemorative certificate.
A highlight of the activities included StoryCorps, an organization that records historic events for posterity. They memorialized 17 individual interviews of those affected by the public school closings. Those interviewed shared their touching stories about struggling to complete school despite the obstacles. These poignant as well as educational testimonials will be available for modern day students to learn from through the Library of Congress and the Robert Russa Moton Museum.
The reunion included visits to area schools including Hampden-Sydney College, Longwood University, Prince Edward County Public Schools, and Fuqua School. There participants were able to share their stories one on one with students, who no doubt will remember these conversations about these pivotal past events for the rest of their lives.